Hearts set to hold contract talks

Hearts keeper Neil Alexander
Hearts keeper Neil Alexander
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HEARTS officials are to hold talks with out-of-contract players Neil Alexander, Blazej Augustyn and Miguel Pallardo in an attempt to clarify their futures.

All three have deals expiring at the end of the season and have yet to be offered extensions.

Alexander is expected to be retained in his player/goalkeeping coach role, although Hearts’ plans for Augustyn and Pallardo are not yet clear. Both players have dropped out of the team recently and been left on the substitutes’ bench. However, they both have the level of experience Hearts will need if they reach the Europa League qualifying rounds.

Head coach Robbie Neilson and director of football Craig Levein are already planning ahead for the new campaign. They will speak to all three in an attempt to reach a decision soon.

“We haven’t spoken too much about it. We’ve just been trying to get things out of the way recently,” admitted Neilson.

“We’ll probably speak to the boys in the next couple of weeks and get a decision on what they want to do and what we want to do. The top-six place is secure so now we want to try and get European qualification, if we can. We have to keep working hard and get ourselves over that line. Then we will have an opportunity to look at our budget and see where we are.”

Neilson indicated in January that agreeing a new contract for Alexander would be a fairly straightforward process.

The goalkeeper was a key figure in last season’s Championship title win and has performed well in the Premiership this year, where Hearts are currently third and on course to qualify for Europe.

Alexander joined Hearts in June 2014 on a two-year contract after leaving Crystal Palace.

Pallardo arrived in September that year as a free agent from the Spanish club Levante and signed until June 2015. That agreement was then extended for a further 12 months.

Augustyn joined last summer from the Polish club Gornik Zabrze on a one-year agreement.